Eliminating weeds in pastures

By Todd Vineyard | Published Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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It has been a good year for weeds. Weeds cost ranchers in Texas millions of dollars in lost production each year because they rob desirable forages of moisture and nutrients.

This is the time of year we usually apply herbicides to our summer pastures for broadleaf weed control and a few troublesome grasses.

Weather forecasting models predict that we will be facing dry conditions this year once again. That magnifies the importance of producing maximum forage with limited rainfall we receive.

Because of the increased high winds we face in the spring, it has kept custom applicators behind, but it’s not too late to apply herbicides and still achieve good control.

Costs for herbicide, plus application, range from $4 to $25 per acre depending on the herbicide used and rate.

Research has shown that for every 1 pound of weeds killed, 4 pounds of forage can be produced.

Used in combination, herbicide and fertilizer can significantly increase grass production. However, herbicide alone increases grass production more than fertilizer alone. If you have fields free from weeds, fertilizer alone is the right choice.

Producers are lucky in that several herbicide choices are out there that do not require a pesticide applicator license for the purchase.

I get questions every year about mowing weeds. According to Texas A&M Trials, mowing cost $10 to $15 per acre, or about the same as herbicide. One difference, though, is that mowing doesn’t improve grass production since it won’t kill the weeds.

Pastora herbicide is used for grassbur control. It is recommended as a post emerge application at about 1 ounce per acre. No license is required.

Be scouting your field for grassbur emergence. It is very important to spray them while they are young and in the two-leaf stage for best results.

If you haven’t applied your weed killer yet, get a plan together to spray or contact your custom applicator today to get on their list or get your sprayer calibrated and ready for the next wind-free day.

For information, call Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Wise County at 940-627-3341.

Todd Vineyard is a Wise County Extension agent.

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